6 things to do with used teabags
If you’re anything like us, you’ve been drinking a lot more tea at home over the Covid-19 lockdown period – whether it’s a classic cuppa or herbal infusion. But before you throw those teabags in the bin, read on to discover how you can re-use them around the home and garden. Here are our top 6 tips for making the most of used teabags.
1. The eyes have it – teabags may help soothe puffy, tired eyes
If you’ve had a bad night’s sleep (or too little sleep), teabags might be the answer! Try placing a used, cooled (or chilled) black or green teabag on each closed eye and relax for 15 minutes or so. It’s thought that the caffeine in these types of teas draws out excess fluid and helps to reduce swelling.
These teas also contain the antioxidants tannin and flavonoid, which have powerful anti-inflammatory properties that can also help reduce swelling and redness, and soothe irritated eyes. As green tea has higher levels of flavonoids than black, there’s some evidence that it’s the more effective option.
2. Put on a brave face – make your own green-tea face mask
Throw away those expensive lotions and potions, we’ve got your beauty routine in the bag! Green tea has been trialled and is being used increasingly in a variety of skin products for its potential to add moisture, soothe irritation and reduce sun damage. There’s no simpler (or cheaper!) way than by using it straight from the source – your used green teabags.
Nerada has published some great natural ‘recipes’ for masks for different skin types, from green tea with avocado to moisturise the skin, to a green tea, rice flour and lemon juice mixture to treat oily skin.
And it’s not just green tea that is known for its anti-inflammatory qualities. A number of other herbal teas, such as camomile, rooibos and even peppermint, are useful, too. Try re-brewing those used teabags to make a less concentrated infusion, then pour it into a clean spray bottle, refrigerate it and use it as a refreshing spritz for your skin.
3. Ease the sting – used teabags can help relieve sunburn
The tannin in black tea can have an astringent and cooling effect on sunburn, but you don’t want the tea to be hot or too concentrated. So soak your used black teabags again in a bowl of just-warm water until it’s nice and dark, then gently dab the liquid on the sunburnt area and leave to dry (don’t wash it off). Re-apply as needed. This solution may also help ease the discomfort of other minor stings and burns.
Our tip? Do this as soon as you can after you come out of the sun for the best results. It’s even worth keeping a bottle of this infusion in the fridge so it’s ready when you need it.
And gently applying cooled, used black teabags directly onto the affected area is also effective.
4. Makes scents – used teabags can reduce odours
Collect your used black teabags, or even aromatic herbal infusions, such as camomile, remove the spent leaves from the bags (don’t forget to add the empty bags to your compost bin), then spread them out and leave them to dry completely (make sure they’re completely dried out before use or they might leave a stain). Then, sprinkle the tea leaves over your carpet or rug and leave for 15-20 minutes before vacuuming. Herbal tea leaves will also leave a deliciously delicate fragrance.
The same goes for a smelly fridge – just place a small bowl of used green teabags in there and they’ll absorb any nasty food odours.
5. Protect your cast-iron cookware – used black teabags can help prevent rust
Rubbing a just-damp used black teabag over pans or leaving a solution of used black teabags and water in a Japanese-style teapot will help keep them rust-free. The tannin acid reacts with the metal to form a seal, preventing it from oxidising.
6. Knock on wood – restore and shine-up floorboards and furniture
For spot marks and scratches on wood, try rubbing a damp used black teabag over the area. It will help to restore and blend the colour. The tannic acid in a solution of black tea will also bring back the shine to your wooden furnishings and floors.
So, there you have it – 6 great reasons why you shouldn’t throw away those teabags. There’s so much more to them than a refreshing cup of tea!
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